Category Archives: Climate Emergency

Re-Imagining Salem Part 2: Setting Climate Solutions Into Action

Cindy Keegan and Patricia A. Gozemba
Are you worried about the climate emergency bearing down on us? Are you overwhelmed? Action is often the best antidote. Together we can turn this emergency into an opportunity for our city, but we need your help.

SAFE members, our environmental allies, and concerned residents are rolling up their sleeves to tackle this challenge and envision not just a green future, but a future that is inclusive, just and sustainable. We want to preserve the city and region we love—and make it better, with good jobs, affordable housing, and diverse residents. Join us on January 27, 6:30-8:30, at the Salem Community Life Center to continue the work.

On November 18, 2019, an overflow crowd of 130 people gathered for an inspiring forum, “RE-IMAGINING SALEM: From Fossil Fuels to a Green Future.” Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll set the tone for promoting solutions, announcing that this spring Salem will initiate an electric vehicle sharing program. Jenna Ide, Director of Capital Projects, just scratched the surface of Salem’s climate initiatives in recounting work on solar arrays, moving emergency infrastructure out of harm’s way, securing 100% renewable electric energy for the city, bike lanes, and coastline resiliency projects such as planting sea grass at Collins Cove.

In small facilitated breakout groups, we thought big and identified our top three issues to address in Salem: transportation, resilience and mitigation planning, and the development of more renewable energy. We came up with lists of ideas to bring to the Legislature, our City Council, and our city administration.

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L-R City Councillor Meg Riccardi, Barbara Warren of Salem Sound Coastwatch and SAFE Advisory Board member Nancy Gilberg.

Mayor Driscoll will kick off the January 27th meeting with a brief overview of city initiatives addressing our top three concerns. Experts who will give very brief presentations to prompt our thinking include:
• Andrea Leary and Aileen O’Rourke from the North Shore Transportation Management Association, on rethinking regional transportation.
• Jenna Ide and Salem Sound Coastwatch’s Barbara Warren, on resiliency and mitigation efforts.
• Larry Chretien of Green Energy Consumers Alliance on the future of renewables; and
• . Cindy Luppi of Clean Water Action on legislative strategies and educational opportunities

SAFE Co-Chair Cindy Keegan will introduce briefly two innovative tools for dealing with the climate emergency, a book and website Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming (Paul Hawken and Tom Steyer) and MIT’s En-Roads, an online policy simulation model for measuring the impact of different climate initiatives from renewables to carbon pricing to carbon capture. SAFE and our allies will do more events on these tools. Stay tuned.

But on January 27th, most of the evening will be spent in breakout sessions with facilitators, as we share our ideas and learn from each other. In deep and engaging conversations, together we’ll identify strategies for tackling these key challenges: transportation, resiliency, alternative energy, public policy, and education.

We all have opinions on what’s special in Salem (beaches, walkability, historic buildings) and what we will lose if we don’t address the climate crisis. We want your help prioritizing issues such as protecting our coastline, running pilot geothermal microgrids, advocating for offshore wind energy, and green transportation. And most significantly, we want to integrate environmental justice at each step along the way as we move into a sustainable future that strengthens our local economy, creates more jobs, and reduces commuting. It can be done.

Our November event was fun and productive. We inspired each other and learned. Come and join SAFE (Salem Alliance for the Environment), and our co-sponsors SERC (Salem’s Sustainability, Energy, and Resiliency Committee), 350.org, and Citizens Climate Lobby. Help us keep up the momentum.

Re-Imagining Salem Part II: Setting Climate Ideas into Action, Jan. 27, 6:30-8:30 pm. Salem CLC 401 Bridge St. Free. Accessible. Parking.

Keegan and Gozemba are Co-Chairs of SAFE.